There he was – a monster of a man standing six feet, nine inches tall – leaning up against a pole that held up our tailgate tent. He was drinking an ice-cold beer, eagerly awaiting the day’s game.
“Hey Big Stroke,” Jimmy, my best friend, yelled at our old college roommate, “Do we have time for one more beer?”
Big Stroke looked at his watch, then looked at us through squinted eyes, leaned his head back and took a gulp of beer, laughed and said:
“Yeah. You got time.”
There we were, at the tailgate party, five minutes before the biggest game of the year between us (Auburn) and LSU. Both teams were unbeaten at the time and the winner would be in the race for the SEC and national football championships and we didn’t want to miss the kickoff. We were a 10-minute walk to the stadium and Big Stroke is telling us we have time for another cold Bud. So we drank that beer and we actually saw the kickoff. It was just another college football miracle.
By the way, Auburn won the game and the SEC and national championship too, punctuating the season with an unforgettable 28-27 win over 2009 defending national champion Alabama, coming from 24 points behind. That was 2010.
Tomorrow (Thursday) is the kickoff for the 2013 college football season. I always get excited this time of year, and I think I have time for at least one more beer before it starts. South Carolina and North Carolina open the season on ESPN. I will watch that game because I am a big fan of South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier. He was the 1966 Heisman Trophy winner as quarterback of the Florida Gators. My Daddy took me to Auburn to watch Spurrier and the Gators play in 1965. I was nine years old. I will always remember that Spurrier was number 11 and Auburn had an all-America linebacker named Bill Cody, who also wore number 11.
During the game, Cody intercepted a Spurrier pass over the middle of the field and returned it for a touchdown. After he scored, Cody threw the ball high into the end-zone seats, celebrating the play that locked in the Auburn upset of the seventh-ranked Gators.
After the game, a reporter asked Cody if he threw the ball to his girlfriend.
“Heck no,” Cody answered. “My girlfriend sits on the 50-yard line.”
So, you have about 18 hours until the season kicks off. Time to ice that beer down, set the TV recorder so you won’t miss any action (Ole Miss and Vanderbilt also play tomorrow night on TV) and settle in to another season of college football – the greatest game on earth.
And so my University of Alabama football fan friends won’t feel slighted because I didn’t say anything positive about them in this blog, “Roll Tide.”
Causes John Haslam Supports
I support the Constitution of the United States of America.
I support St. Jude's Hospital.
I believe in GOD.